This recipe serves six generously, and it’s easily doubled if you want to make more (leftovers are delicious). If you don’t have the traditional deep earthenware casserole, use a 5-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven or a ceramic soufflé dish — the vessel needs to be wide enough for a crust to form. For pork rind, order it or buy salt pork and cut the rind off, freezing the salt pork for another use.
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As an educational recipe I would have to give it an A+. I had the opportunity to get acquainted with different preps and techniques. I did my own duck confit,I became familiar with other pork products. I loved every hard moment. I served my cassoulet as part of a New Years celebration
There are simpler, more "streamlined" versions of cassoulet out there, but I'm with the other reviewers -- this one is well worth the effort! It's become a Christmas Eve tradition in our house. I follow the recipe to the letter and it never fails to impress. And I love the fact that everything can be done in stages and days ahead of time, which makes for stress-free entertaining. Note that quality of the dried beans is important -- I've had good luck with Italian butter beans or gigante, purchased at the farmer's market -- you want a bean that will maintain its integrity through all the hours of cooking and not break down into mush. I've found the larger varieties better in this regard.
I make this during the winter holidays every year. While not complex, it is a multi-day affair that requires a bit of advanced planning (and ordering of special items such as the ham hock and pork rind). But the end result is SOOOO worth the effort. Absolutely one of my favourite dishes, particularly on a cold winter day. I always end up with more of the different stews than will fit in my my large stockpot, so we also fill a couple of small disposable baking tins which are put in the freezer for a later day. Can't recommend this one enough, if you have the time and inclination.
I have made this recipe twice and consider it one of my favorite winter French dishes. It is better made and rewarmed so it is perfect for a dinner for special friends. The ingredients, such as the right beans and the pork rind, are well worth seeking out for the right taste and texture.
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